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SCU establishes DNA testing facility


16 November 2005
Southern Cross University will establish a unique DNA testing and analysis facility, placing it at the forefront of agricultural research in Australia.

SCU has received close to $290,000 through the Sustainable Regions program funding which will contribute to the purchase of a $586,000 sequenom mass array facility.

Professor Robert Henry, director of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics, said the equipment would enable the University to conduct DNA testing of samples from any source although the main application would be agriculture and food.

"It measures the DNA in a different way to other technology, using weight or mass, and is particularly useful for measuring DNA in organisms that are not well researched.

"It also provides the potential to analyse large numbers of samples in a short time. That means the cost per sample is reduced, which will make DNA testing affordable for a wide range of applications."

Professor Henry said this would be the only facility of its type in use in Australia for agricultural purposes.

"This technology is ideal for testing the varieties of particular seeds and grains. It will help maintain the quality and integrity of food.

"This further extends SCU's capability. We are really quite unique in terms of the technology we have got and it will certainly help us to attract further research funding and collaborative partners."

Professor Henry said SCU already had strong interest from commercial organisations keen to make use of the technology.

Media contact: Brigid Veale 02 66593006 or 0439 680748.